Self-driving car company Wayve opens artificial intelligence office in Vancouver

Vancouver’s tech sector strength in artificial intelligence (AI) research and development has attracted the presence of one of the world’s preeminent companies for self-driving vehicle technology.

Wayve announced today it has opened a new office in Vancouver, which the company says is a key move for its growth as a global AI leader.

The Vancouver office will enable the Microsoft-backed company to create an expanded team dedicated to advancing “Embodied AI” for self-driving technology.

Generally, Embodied AI is artificial intelligence that interacts with the environment through physical movement, such as self-driving vehicles, drones, and manufacturing. Complex, but repetitive, tasks are replicated.

“With Vancouver boasting the highest technology talent market growth across the US and Canada, surpassing even tech hubs such as San Francisco, it is an ideal location for Wayve’s next office,” states the company.

“The city’s renowned educational institutions, thriving startup ecosystem, and presence of international tech companies make it a prime choice for Wayve. The vibrant technology scene in Vancouver has fostered a diverse talent pool capable of driving new breakthroughs in AI with global impact.”

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It is further stated that the new Vancouver team will focus on “scientific discovery,” and it will be led by Wayve chief scientist Jamie Shotton and computer vision and machine learning scientist Yasutaka Furukawa, who is the company’s first hire in Vancouver.

“Vancouver is fast becoming a leading tech hub. I’m thrilled to expand our team in such an inspiring environment and be part of Canada’s vibrant AI ecosystem,” said Shotton in a statement.

“At Wayve, research plays a fundamental role, allowing us to push the boundaries of what’s possible and positively impact society. Our goal is to unlock the significant safety, economic, and environmental benefits of self-driving through scientific innovation.”

Wayve is known to have developed technology that allows it to “interrogate” its autonomous vehicles, literally. Using the same technology supporting ChatGPT to help train their driverless vehicles, they can ask questions about the vehicles driving questions, with the vehicles then providing answers.

The company, founded in 2017, is based in London, and they have conducted trials on public roads in the United Kingdom since 2018. They have raised over US$258 million to date, including from Microsoft, which has joined Wayve as both an investor and technology provider, specifically with the use of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform to scale Wayve’s machine learning platform.

The Vancouver office is Wayve’s third office location after its headquarters and Mountain View office near San Francisco.

Wayve is a unicorn, estimated to have a valuation of over US$1 billion even two years ago.

wayve self driving cars autonomous